UPSET! CHS Girls shock Juan Diego
Huge 15-3 run in final minutes propels Lady Dinos to improbable win in 3A Tournament First Round
With five minutes left, things were looking pretty bleak for the Carbon High Lady Dinos.
Down by 10 against a tough Juan Diego squad that relentlessly pressed and pushed Carbon through the first 31 minutes of the game, an early ticket home was looking more and more likely for the Carbon girls.
"I was just thinking, 'Don't get blown out,'" CHS Head Coach Ted Bianco said after the game.
But in those final minutes, Carbon awoke.
They awoke with a roar heard loud and clear through the Juan Diego gymnasium on Friday evening.
Jordan Scoggins' runner from the right side gave Carbon a one-point lead, capping a huge turnaround with 25 seconds left. After two missed free throws by Juan Diego's Monique Mills, Carbon freshman Lindsey Blanc hit 1-of-2 free throws with five seconds left.
Mills ran the ball down the floor and her last second attempt toiled with going in the basket before falling out sending the Carbon bench and coaching staff into a frenzy as they poured out onto the floor in celebration of the 33-31 win.
"It's the best win I've ever had as a coach," said Bianco. "We weren't picked to win by anyone. The girls gave everything they had and won a game against a top team on the road."
Carbon expected to face a number of challenges in the game against Juan Diego. And the first one arrived less than two minutes into the game.
Senior Shelby Cornforth picked up two quick fouls as Bianco quickly called upon sophomore forward Morgan Hillam to step in her place. Down 10-4 and with both team struggling to hit shots, Hillam and the Lady Dinos responded over the next 14 minutes of play taking a 13-12 lead into halftime.
While both team struggled to hit shots, Carbon continued to play strong defense and rebounded well against a Juan Diego team featuring the Mills twins, Dominique and Monique, and 6-foot-1 sophomore Ann Marie Nelson. Carbon collected a total of 38 rebounds, including a team-high of eight by Hillam.
Cornforth led Carbon with a team-high 12 points and Hillam added a varsity season high of 11 points.
Juan Diego took the lead back after halftime, outscoring Carbon 14-4 in the third quarter. After scoring just 17 points through the first 24 minutes, Carbon began to string together baskets. They went on a quick 4-0 run to cut the lead to 28-22 with 4:53 left. After Nelson hit a free throw for Juan Diego, Carbon added another three points on a free throw by Katie Basinger and a basket by Cornforth.
Monique Mills hit two free throws to push the lead back to 31-25 with over two minutes. Hillam hit 1-of-2 free throws, Cornforth added another basket and Blanc added two free throws to cut the deficit to 31-30 with 51.5 seconds left.
After pressuring Juan Diego players, Hillam stole an in-bounds pass and Bianco called a time out with 43.2 seconds left to set up a good shot opportunity.
Bianco knew exactly what was working for the team down the stretch.
"Things started working well for us when we attacked them off the dribble," he explained.
So when Cornforth was unable to get in good position for a shot down low, she passed back out to Scoggins on the perimeter. Looking for an opening, Scoggins went back to the right side and muscled up a runner over the outreached hands of Juan Diego's Alexa Mortensen to give Carbon their first lead since 13-12.
Blanc's added free throw with five seconds left helped seal the victory sending Carbon to the 3A quarterfinals in Cedar City where Cedar awaits for a game on Thursday at 5:50 p.m. at Southern Utah University.
"It was a gutsy and gritty win for the team," said Bianco. "We played ugly through the first three quarters but they came through in the end and got the win."